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Unfair

Shropshire, UK
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1 post
93 reviews
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Unfair

Hi,

I have recently booked a trip to Dubai and obviously used Tripadvisor to help me decide on where to stay. Since then I have followed the hotel I am staying in and read all the new reviews as they come in. This has made me realise how unfair the system can be for hotels.

The hotel was listed as second best in Dubai (of over 400) with over 1,200 5 star reviews and only about 10, 1 star reviews. The hotel ahead of it has no where near as many 5 star reviews. Recently the hotel we have booked moved down to 3rd because of a couple of 1 star reviews (although the hotel now ahead only has 10% of the 5 star reviews!), which flagged a couple of issues.

Firstly, I can't understand how people would give a 1 star review to a hotel with 1,200+ 5 start reviews for this 5 star plus resort. Could this be a competitor with a false review? How is this checked? Secondly, another 1 star review was from someone who hadn't even stayed there!? Again it seems totally unfair.

I'm not bothered myself as you take the 1 star reviews in context with the incredible amount of amazing reviews, but I feel for the hotels involved. So is anything done to monitor these overly harsh 1 star reviews that just don't add up. And the weighting system for the position of the hotel doesn't seem right?

West Grey, Ontario
Destination Expert
for Toronto
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72,089 posts
87 reviews
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1. Re: Unfair

Hi Elbows29;

>>"The hotel was listed as second best in Dubai (of over 400) with over 1,200 5 star reviews and only about 10, 1 star reviews. The hotel ahead of it has no where near as many 5 star reviews. Recently the hotel we have booked moved down to 3rd because of a couple of 1 star reviews..."<<

There are three key things that factor into the popularity index;

• the number of reviews

• how favourable the reviews are

• how old or recent the reviews are

Also, reviews depreciate over time so an older review, good or bad, does not factor in as much as a newer one. It's not just a simple mathematical average of all the review’s ratings.

tripadvisor.com/help/how_does_the_popularity… tripadvisor.com/help/how_do_traveler_ratings…

You also need to remember that the ratings are dynamic. While that hotel may be receiving great reviews, all of its competitor’s ratings may be adjusting, up or down, depending on the reviews they receive.

Best Regards

Melbourne, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
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24,536 posts
65 reviews
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2. Re: Unfair

Wonderful explanation from RT above.

Whilst I feel TA is a wonderful tool for research and sharing of information, one shouldn't over think the popularity index and take it with a grain of salt. They are 'dots' not official 'stars'. They are reviews and perceptions of the public, not an official form of audit.

Like most things in life, the use of a broad selection of resources is a safer/greater gauge of properties, as well as use of the destination forums to gain feedback from the local experts.

Chester, United...
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59,784 posts
65 reviews
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3. Re: Unfair

People can have totally different experiences at the same day / week at the same property. all properties can get some scaling reviews at this time of the year as people who have paid top whack for it have very high expectation

Also because a property is #1 on TA does not mean it will be the right property for you and neither does it mean if a property in #25 it will not be the property for you

Bloomington, Indiana
Destination Expert
for Bloomington
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8,444 posts
22 reviews
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4. Re: Unfair

One other point re: "rankings," I don't think you should put too much emphasis on minor differences in the rankings. Given that TA does chose to rank hotels, there will always be a #1, #2 . . . . But, what this doesn't tell you is how much difference there is between any two numbers. Think of it as a horse race, there will always be a Win, Place & Show, but that doesn't tell you whether the winning horse won by a nose or by 20 lengths.

Consider a destination with two hotels, one a 5 star hotel and the other a flop house, they'll be ranked #1 & #2, but they certainly aren't similar in quality and you need to look at the "dots" and review distributions to notice the difference. Similarly, if the two hotels are both 5 star places, they will also show up as #1 & #2, but *are* very similar (which would be revealed by looking at the "dots" and review distributions); in fact, I would expect that these two might flip flop their ranking with every new review.

I (and others) tend to view the rankings in tiers. Presuming you're looking at a destination with say 100 hotels, it's not really worth paying that much attention to the difference in rankings in the top 10 or so. They're all going to be very similar in meeting a guest's expectations. On the other hand when you've narrowed your choice to two hotels and one is ranked #8 and the other is ranked #50, it's worth paying attention to the difference.

Lastly, it is my experience that *very* often really good or really poor reviews are often based on expectations, "bang for buck," etc. This is why you can see a good, clean, budget hotel ranked up there with a 5 star resort. There is no way these two hotels will offer the same "quality" of stay, amenities, etc; but they may do similar when one considers whether a guest's expectations were met or exceeded.

Bottom Line: The fact that a hotel you've booked has "dropped" from #2 to #3 is essentially meaningless in my opinion and I wouldn't be surprised if by the time you arrive it has moved back to #2 (maybe #1) or perhaps dropped a few places.

That's my $.02,

hlo

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,853 posts
1,049 reviews
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5. Re: Unfair

>>Secondly, another 1 star review was from someone who hadn't even stayed there!? Again it seems totally unfair.<<

TripAdvisor allows members to review their "experience" with a property. If somebody had trouble making a booking, or whatever, they could write a review about that experience. They cannot rate the "sleep quality" or other things they did not directly experience.

>> So is anything done to monitor these overly harsh 1 star reviews<<

Each review is just one person's opinion. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and they may not agree with each other. Perhaps the person with the poor review had a room next to a noisy elevator, or their A/C didn't work properly, or whatever - something made them unhappy!

Sherbrooke, Canada
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39,766 posts
815 reviews
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6. Re: Unfair

When the difference between the top hotels is very slim (as you would expect), a very small thing can change the rankings. Any hotel in the top 10 is still excellent no matter what the exact rank is.

Pittsburgh...
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5,534 posts
75 reviews
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7. Re: Unfair

I'm in agreement with what's been said above. I'd like to point out that, while you are suggesting that TA monitor the 1* reviews, a number of individuals (not me, mind you) are highly suspicious of glowing 5* reviews. It's all about perspective, and I think when you're talking about properties moving up or down a position or two, it's not all that important in the grand scheme of things.

Wales, United...
Destination Expert
for Bargain Travel, Cruises
Level Contributor
47,998 posts
429 reviews
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8. Re: Unfair

The way I look at at is that this site provides a snap shot of people's expereinces at a given time. I myself rate an establishment on my experience, and how well it met my expectations, which will be completely different at a cafe as against a fine dining restaurant.

As such, the rankings are merely a popularity contest rather than any kind of offical guide to quality. Of course, not everyone sees things the same way, and some people will not only have different, possibly unrealistic expectations, but will also use Tripadvisor differently.

Given all this, as well as the sheer number of reviews, it's difficult to see how this site can monitor reviews and reviewers in any other way than it does now, by relying on users to report reviews. And I don't believe it would be prudent to merely focus on 1 star reviews anyway, what about the glowing 5 star awards?! Things work both ways...

Gourock, United...
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3,491 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: Unfair

Well taking all the above into account. Why have a ranking system at all.

Ok you can rate your opinion of the features in your review, but don't rank hotels aginst each other.

Just let everyone read the reviews and make up their own minds.

David

Pittsburgh...
Level Contributor
5,534 posts
75 reviews
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10. Re: Unfair

I've been advocating that since I joined, DLB. List them alphabetically, and allow ratings as a sort/search feature like price and property type. I get the sneaking suspicion that such a thing doesn't have a snowball's chance in Baghdad of ever happening, though.